Author: Michael Tabman
Reviewed by Fran Lewis
Rookie cops have a lot to learn often at the hand of those more experienced. Instinct, gut feelings, trust and watching the back of their fellow officers is paramount to surviving on the job and making sure your back is watched and protected too. Officer Gary Hollings wants to move up in the ranks of the KC Police Department. Working with many seasoned officers, listening, observing and following their directions would work to helping him that long ladder to make Detective. This is Gary’s story. You hear his voice and understand his feelings, emotions, and apprehensions as author Michael Tabman brings the reader in up close and personal in the life of one rookie officer, the hunt for a serial rapist, drug and burglaries gone south and corruption widespread as I review Midnight Sin.
Beginning with a rape in the park. The author envelops the reader and guides you through the incident hearing the voice of not only the rapist, hunting his prey but the unsuspecting jogger who is his victim. Adapt at getting away, being unnoticed and blending into the dark of night, the jogger never sees him coming and the end result is brutal.
Detective Frank Patelli gets the case and encounters more than just the victim, but her boyfriend and unfeeling, cold and unemotional man named Brian. Throughout his encounter with him you can feel the disconnection he has started to form with Robin, the victim, the accusatory words that he spouts out blaming her for her own actions and trying to make her out to be the guilty party and frustration the Detective and his partner felt when trying to offer her support. But, there is much more to come.
Officer Hollings and his training Officer Thompson find themselves assisting another officer during a robbery. The author graphically and vividly describes events and the three men involved translate what went down differently. As Officer Hollings and his partner enter the convenience store and the Jim Burkett, the officer in charge questions the owner, what happens next is right out of an episode of Law and Order or CSI. Slow motion or even fast-forwarding the events, two men get shot and the robber goes down. But, how will they relate the events to Internal Affairs and whose back will Hollings have? But, there is so much more as Hollings is then paired with another training officer, handles a drug bust and learns more about the inner workings of an officer’s mind and thoughts.
Implied by the officers and sometimes coming straight out are the many indiscretions of their fellow officers. Often making it seem that some of the women provide extra fun for some of them and of course bragging about their conquests gives this story some extra intrigue and flavor.
As the two officers recuperated and a full investigation is underway, the author allows the reader to enter the minds, thinking and understand the rationale behind each officer’s approach to the upcoming interview and inquiry. The pressure placed upon the rookie officer to back up the senior partner and the naivety in thinking they could fool those on the board. Burkett presents an honest and truthful account although not entirely flawless. Thompson and Hollings quite different. Salient points concerning the robbery and various parts of the incident and their accounts are fully orchestrated to making Thompson out to be the one who handled it correctly without giving due credit to the other. Hollings learns the ropes, patrols and comes face to face with more than just domestic violence cases, serial rape and robberies. As he get to know his fellow officers and sees some rise up in the ranks he begins to question in his mind just how they got there and why.
Behind the scenes banter among the cops in the locker room, one man spying on their conversations and discussions that lead the reader to wonder who might be behind the rapes and several officers whose focus is not always on the case nor the victim.
Frank Patelli delves into another investigation in the multiple rapes. Procedures are described in detail and our rookie cop whose learning survival skills and the ropes is beginning to understand a lot more than most expect. A new rookie cop from New York, taking no guff from anyone, including the senior officers, soon assimilates himself into the daily grind, proves his strength and becomes someone Hollings learns he can rely on.
One woman cop whose reputation and actions often come between Hollings and his girlfriend Janie. Past relationships keeping true feelings at bay and hoping to allay those in the present, as the search for one serial rapist takes on a new and unusual twist as he revisits, one victim but deters from his usual MO. As the victim relates her second experience noting many differences from the first the reader is alerted to the fact that this might not be the same person.
As Hollings delves deeper into the rapes and the victim count rises to 6 rapes, corruption in the department uncovered, an officer that pays the ultimate price and two rogue officers on the take. As Hollings and his friend Bergman piece things together they learn that those in power are not the ones to ultimately trust. Many officers are on the take and higher ups covering it up as Hollings reveals what he learns, gets the short end of the stick and could lose even more than just his job but his new relationship too.
True life issues. Real crimes committed everyday. Police officers that struggle with their conscience, home lives and much more, author Michael Tabman takes his real life experiences, enveloping the reader in the action, drama, fear, sadness and frustrations of the officers of the Third Precinct and those working to find this serial rapist. Mistakes are made, clues are being left and one woman is killed one rape turns into a brutal murder. What does happen and who is behind the rapes will astound the reader and give you much pause for thought. Corruption runs deep in this precinct.
An ineffective police sergeant, a young rookie officer set up and a precinct riddled with crime, and many who pay more than the ultimate price as Midnight Sin comes to a close, the rapist revealed and much exposed. Characters vividly described. Crimes graphically pictured in the mind of the reader. Rape is wrong. Abuse is equally wrong. Why do some women allow it? Why would someone allow a man or woman to abuse him or her in any way? Take a piece of delicate china or porcelain and drop it. Look at the pieces left. As each victim is questioned and their lives become like those broken pieces of china or porcelain hoping to be pasted or glued back in place but never without scars or jagged edges.
An ending so explosive and volatile you won’t see it coming. A killer/rapist so elusive he escapes capture for too long. Just who the rapist is you won’t believe. Could he be hiding in plain sight? What is his motive? DEA Task forces arrested and corrupt yet one man escapes the net. As author Michael Tabman allows the reader into the world of what is supposed to be those who are here to protect the public and keep us safe, and those that are really not.
Gary Hollings made many mistakes. Cops were caught on tape and you won’t believe how or why. An explosive ending that will send chills down your spine and shake Gary to his inner core. You won’t see it coming as author Michael Tabman brings the story full circle with an emotional impact that will ignite chain reaction letting you know there is much more to come. Who is the last victim? You won’t know that until you read the very last page and the very last line. This reviewer will never reveal the ending nor give anything away. After all the author is a former cop and FBI agent and I would not want to be called in for questioning for withholding information. Besides: as a reviewer: I would take the fifth!
This is one novel that is right up there with those written by Connolly, Thor and Fairstein. Who knows what is next for our rookie cop? Midnight Sin: A rapist who preys on those in the dark of night. One novel you won’t be able to put down.
Fran Lewis: reviewer